Insert the Square Root or Radical Symbol in Microsoft Word Documents

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated September 10, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019 or 365 (Windows)

You can insert the square root or radical symbol (√) in a Word document using built-in Word commands or keyboard shortcuts. You can use an Alt code shortcut or create your own keyboard shortcut to insert the square root symbol.

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In this article, we'll look at 5 ways to insert the square root symbol in a Word document:

  1. Use the Insert Symbol command
  2. Press Alt and then enter a number sequence
  3. Add and use a custom keyboard shortcut
  4. Add and use an AutoCorrect entry (or use an existing entry)
  5. Insert the symbol in an equation using Equation tools

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1. Inserting the square root symbol using Insert Symbol

To insert the square root symbol using Insert Symbol in the Ribbon in Word:

  1. Position the cursor in the Word document where you want to insert the square root symbol.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click More Symbols. A dialog box appears.
  5. If necessary, click the Symbols tab.
  6. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu.
  7. Select Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  8. Scroll through the list of symbols until you find the square root symbol (√) and then click it.
  9. Click Insert.
  10. Click Close.

The Insert Symbol dialog box appears as follows (with √ selected):

Insert symbol dialog box in Word with square root selected.

2. Inserting the square root symbol using an Alt keyboard shortcut

To insert the square root symbol in a Word document using Alt:

  1. Position the cursor where you want to insert the square root symbol.
  2. Press and hold Alt + 251 on the numeric keypad.

If the sequence doesn't work, press NumLock on the numeric keypad. If you don't have a numeric keypad on your laptop, you may be able to access number keys at the top of your keyboard in combination with another key (like Fn).

3. Inserting the square root symbol using a custom keyboard shortcut

If you insert the square root symbol frequently, you can create your own keyboard shortcut for the symbol in Word.

To create a keyboard shortcut for the square root symbol:

  1. Position the cursor in a Word document where you want to insert the symbol.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click More Symbols. A dialog box appears.
  5. If necessary, click the Symbols tab.
  6. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu.
  7. Select Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  8. Scroll through the list of symbols until you find the square root symbol (√) and then click it.
  9. Click Shortcut. A dialog box appears.
  10. Click in the box below Assign New Shortcut key.
  11. Press the keys you want to assign (such as Ctrl + Alt + Q). Don't type any text, just press the keys. Be careful not to override a useful built-in shortcut.
  12. Click Assign. Typically the location for these shortcuts is the Normal (or default) template.
  13. Click Close twice.

Test the shortcut in your document by pressing the assigned keys.

The Customize Keyboard dialog box appears as follows:

Customize keyboard dialog box in Word to add shortcut for square root.

Since these shortcuts are typically saved in the Normal template, when you exit Word, if you are prompted to save the Normal template, click Yes.

4. Inserting the square root symbol using AutoCorrect

You can also insert the square root symbol automatically using AutoCorrect (which is different from Math AutoCorrect).

To create an AutoCorrect entry for the square root symbol:

  1. Position the cursor in a Word document where you want to insert the square root symbol.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click More Symbols. A dialog box appears.
  5. If necessary, click the Symbols tab.
  6. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu.
  7. Select Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  8. Scroll through the list of symbols until you find the square root symbol (√) and then click it.
  9. Click AutoCorrect. A dialog box appears.
  10. In the Replace with box, enter the name of the entry (such as \isqr).
  11. Click Add.
  12. Click OK.
  13. Click Close.
  14. In the document, type the entry (such as \isqr) and then press the Spacebar.

The AutoCorrect dialog box appears as follows:

Autocorrect dialog box in Word to add entry for square root.

Since these shortcuts are typically saved in the Normal template, when you exit Word, if you are prompted to save the Normal template, click Yes.

If you insert an equation block in Word, you can insert symbols using Math AutoCorrect entries (note the Math AutoCorrect tab in the AutoCorrect Options dialog box). Simply type \sqrt and then press the Spacebar (this is the default Math Autocorrect entry for this symbol). This can be used outside of an equation block as well as long as Math AutoCorrect is set to Use Math AutoCorrect outside of math regions.

5. Inserting the square root symbol in an equation block or placeholder

If you insert an equation in Word, an Equation tab will appear in the Ribbon when the equation block or placeholder is selected and you can simply click the square root symbol in the Ribbon to insert it into the equation.

To insert the square root symbol in an equation block or placeholder:

  1. Click in the document where you want to enter an equation.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Equation to insert a new equation block or placeholder. Alternatively, type Alt + equal sign (=). You can also use an existing equation block or placeholder.
  4. Click in the equation block or placeholder.
  5. Click the Equation tab in the Ribbon.
  6. Click the More arrow on the bottom right of the Symbols gallery.
  7. At the top of the Symbols gallery, select Basic Math from drop-down menu (typically, this is the default).
  8. Click the square root symbol.

You can also type \sqrt and then press the Spacebar to use the default Math Autocorrect entry for this symbol.

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Summary
5 Ways to Insert or Type the Square Root Symbol in Word (√)
Article Name
5 Ways to Insert or Type the Square Root Symbol in Word (√)
Description
You can insert the square root or radical symbol (√) in a Word document using built-in Word commands or keyboard shortcuts. You can use an Alt code shortcut or create your own keyboard shortcut to insert the square root symbol.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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